Homemade Bloody Marys
Whether it's a restaurant brunch or a fall tailgate, we Southerners love to drink bloody marys. They are, after all, the perfect excuse to day drink, and they provide plenty of electrolytes and other tangy goodness to soothe any hangover we may have. But when it comes time to make them ourselves, there's no reason to start from scratch when there are plenty of excellent mixes being made right in our home region.
Here are 20 of the best, from all over the South. Did we miss your favorite? Let us know by email at email@example.com or on our Facebook page.
This is a totally unscientific statement, but, based on our research, it seems that South Carolina, particularly its Low Country region, is ground zero for Southern bloody marys. Charleston itself claims three premium mixes, and there are two additional bloody mary concoctions from the rest of the state that you should also add to your lineup.
Charleston Mix, Charleston
The Charleston Beverage Company was founded in 2009 by Ryan Eleuteri, a College of Charleston grad and former car sales manager. His Charleston Mix, which comes in the original Bold & Spicy flavor as well as the vegetarian Fresh & Veggie flavor, is aimed at anyone looking for a mix made from high-quality, local ingredients. Both recipes are horseradish-free and feature a unique blend of habanero mash, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and spices. They're also all natural, gluten-free, MSG-free and do not contain any high-fructose corn syrup. Serve with High Wire Distilling vodka for a truly South Carolinian drink.
Fat and Juicy, Charleston
Crafted by two band mates, Joe Good and John Glenn, Fat and Juicy bloody mary mixers are intended to be the perfect addition to tailgates, oyster roasts, pig pickin's and just about any other classic Southern day drinking affair. The mix, which blends 'fat and juicy' tomatoes, roasted vegetable purees, fresh horseradish, celery, garlic and chiles, comes in three flavors: classic, cayenne and chipotle. All of the company's recipes encourage mixing and serving in 12-ounce red plastic cups.
Holy Smoke, Charleston
This one's for smoke lovers. Made by a company that also sells smoked olive oil and smoked honey, this bloody mary mix is full of spice, tomato and hickory smoke. Like Charleston Mix, Holy Smoke is gluten-, MSG- and preservative-free and was perfected over two years of testing (and tasting).
Willie's Hog Dust, Sumter
Another mix for smoke aficionados, Willie's Hog Dust bloody mary mix takes is flavor cues from barbecue rubs. In fact, the company also makes just that — barbecue rubs, sauces and more. Its bloody mary mix, which comes in original and spicy flavors, is chock full of freshly juiced ingredients, like carrots, beets, bell pepper, celery, parsley and — of course — tomatoes. A handful of spice rub is added, along with sugar and water. Drink this while you're smoking a pork shoulder on your Big Green Egg.
Seaside Grown, Saint Helena
Branded as a "field to glass" bloody mary mix, each batch of Seaside Grown mix includes two pounds of tomatoes grown on this six-generation family farm in the heart of the South Carolina Low Country. Each bottle of mix is handmade in the company's kitchen and include a "hand-picked assortment of traditional Low Country spices." The company's spicy mix also includes horseradish, Carolina reaper peppers and a few additional Gullah-inspired spices.
Nashville is the home to Tennessee's premium bloody mary mix production, with two major brands being made in Music City.
Walker Feed Company
An all-natural cocktail mixer company, Walker Feed makes its bloody mary mixes from high-quality, regional ingredients; each mix is lower in sodium and sugar than most national brands. Its original Southern bloody mary mix is ultra-savory, but still vegetarian, and makes the most of fresh squeezed tomato juice, bourbon barrel-aged Worcestershire sauce, blackstrap molasses and Creole mustard. Spice heads will also appreciate the company's Nashville Hot mix, a vegetarian blend full of hot chicken spice.
While its brand is tied to Texas, Red Eye bloody mary mixes are all now manufactured in Nashville by the R.S. Lipman company. Each of the company's mixes — in original, Outlaw, horseradish, habanero and Tavern Blend — is made from fresh tomatoes and a proprietary blend of spices. The winner of multiple awards, Red Eye brags that its mix is "so meaty you can almost eat it!"
Austin is the epicenter of Texas' premium bloody mary mix production and, given all the late nights out watching live music, likely its consumption as well. These three brands will all give you a big, bold Texan start to your Saturday.
Available in six different flavors, Bloody Revolution is the most widely-available Austin-made mix. Its original flavor boasts complex, savory vegetable flavor with a hint of spice, and Bloody Revolution says, is great for cooking. Its other flavors range from the mild (Roasted Garlic, Ribeye, and Pickle Zest) to the rip roaring hot (Wasabi Ginger and Smoked Habanero), and all come packaged in colorful, fun bottles.
True to its name, Barbecue Wife bloody mary mix is made by the wife of a barbecue pitmaster. Founder Catherine Stiles writes that, after her husband opened his restaurant, she was "immediately taken with their signature sauce" and found that by adding it to her bloody mary mix she created a drink that was "holy mama good!" Each batch contains both smoked salt and smoked black pepper, in addition to tomato juice, spices and other vegetarian ingredients.
The Bloody Buddy
The only ready-to-drink bloody mary mix on this list, the Bloody Buddy combines chile pepper-infused vodka and all-natural bloody mary mix. Owner James Jordan developed his signature recipe over 15 years working for Ruth's Chris Steakhouse in Austin. The mix is available in large, 750 ml bottles for the home bar, as well as individual bottles that are perfect for tailgating and other outdoor adventures.
Head to Richmond and its surrounding area for a taste of Virginia-style bloody marys.
Texas Beach, Richmond
Named not for a beach in Texas, but for a favorite spot on the James river, Texas Beach bloody mary mix was first created by a group of bartenders. Savory, briny and spicy, this vegetarian mix is free of artificial colors, preservatives, corn syrup and MSG. Texas Beach has garnered awards from Virginia Living, the Virginia Food and Beverage Expo and the Good Food Awards, which means these bartenders do actually know what they're talking about.
Hunstman Premium Bloody Mary Mix, Goochland County
Made by husband-and-wife team Sue and Lewis Nash, Huntsman Premium bloody mary mix is an old family recipe. The couple used to make the mix at home to give as gifts, and eventually began selling it by word of mouth. By 2014, they were selling it commercially. Keeping with the family theme, each bottle comes with a label depicting their son-in-law on horseback in fox-hunt gear.
One famous Atlanta restaurant and one group of chefs on Tybee island make our two top mixes from the Peach state.
Holeman and Finch, Atlanta
Made famous at Holeman and Finch Public House, this bloody mary mix is at the company's bottle shop, as well as at a few specialty online retailers, so you can recreate the drink for yourself at home. This spicy and savory mix, made from citrus, tomatoes and a proprietary blend of spices, goes well with Atlanta-made pickles from Doux South and a generous pour of Top Hat vodka.
Savannah Bloody Mary Mix, Tybee Island
Co-founded in 2014 by another husband and wife team, chefs Jeremy Diehl and Kelly Yambo, Savannah Bloody Mary Mix brings together garden-fresh, all-natural tomatoes, celery seed, lemon juice and black pepper, along with a serious level of savory umami. And purchasing this mix will not only make for a great brunch, but it'll also make you feel good — 3 percent of all proceeds go back into the couple's local school system on Tybee Island.
Over in Mississippi, you'll find another barbecue-inspired mix, this one with some Memphis flair.
Ubon's BBQ Bloody Mary Mix, Yazoo City
Crafted at the award-winning Ubon's Barbeque restaurant, this bloody mary mix delivers rich sweetness, tanginess and a touch of spice, just like a good barbecue sauce. Each bottle includes dill pickle, garlic, onion, celery seed, cayenne and all of the flavors of the restaurant's award-winning Memphis-style barbecue sauce. In addition to this traditional flavor, Ubon's also offers a spicy mix with chipotle, white pepper and extra cayenne. As with many other mixes on this list, Ubon's is always all-natural, gluten-free and MSG-free.
From the Outer Banks to the Piedmont, you can find plenty of hand-crafted bloody mary mixes in the great state of North Carolina
Hail Mary Mix, Raleigh
A small-batch, locally-sourced mix, Hail Mary was designed to be a healthier option to generic bloody mary mixes. Founder Blake Stewart based his recipe on his grandmother's homemade tomato juice. Today, Hail Mary Mix is made from freshly juiced tomatoes, peppers, horseradish and spices, and it makes a refreshing bloody mary every time.
The Pickled Pirate, Ocaracoke Island
This pickle and preserves store on the remote Ocracoke Island in the Outer Banks is an ultra-savory, meaty mix that some reviewers have described as "like a Carolina-style BBQ sauce." Available in wasabi, habanero and pickle flavors, these mixes go great with the many other pickle products you can find in the shop.
Bruce Julian Heritage Foods, Charlotte
You can find just about anything you need to build and garnish a bloody mary at Bruce Julian, including gallon-sized jugs of his all-natural, additive-free mix. Made with retro style, this award-winning mix of secret ingredients was created after 10 years of research at bars across the country by Bruce Julian himself. He first began selling the mix out of his clothier shop 15 years ago, and now sells the stuff at a rapid clip through his website and to bars around the country.
Bloody mary mixes from Louisiana are all about spice and Cajun flavor.
Cajun Power, Abbeville
Made from tomato juice and a balanced blend of Cajun seasonings, Cajun Power bloody mary mix is the product of over 29 years of work developing signature sauces and products. Founder Chef Caro spent decades learning Cajun recipes and traditions, which has been distilled into his line of products, all seasoned with spices like garlic, onion, bell pepper, celery and parsley.
Tabasco Bloody Mary Mix, Avery Island
The mix bearing the famous hot sauce's name is based on the drink's original recipe, created at Harry's New York Bar in Paris. Containing a solid pour of classic red Tabasco sauce along with concentrated tomato juice, lime juice and Worcestershire sauce, the Tabasco bloody mary mix is actually not quite as spicy as you'd assume; it's simply a well balanced, easy to customize mix.
Photo (Charleston Mix): Charleston Mix/Facebook
Photo (Willie's): Willie's Hog Dust/Facebook
Photo (Walker Feed Co): Walker Feed Co/Facebook
Photo (Bloody Revolution): Bloody Revolution/Facebook
Photo (Texas Beach): Texas Beach Bloody Mary Mix/Facebook
Photo (Holeman and Finch): Holeman and Finch Bottle Shop/Facebook
Photo (Ubon's): Ubon's Barbeque of Yazoo/Facebook
Photo (Hail Mary): Hail Mary Mix/Facebook
Photo (Cajun Power): Cajun Power Sauce/Facebook